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RSL player grades: Emotions create poor performance

SHARE RSL player grades: Emotions create poor performance

Real Salt Lake built much of its legacy on a possession-based style of soccer that was enhanced by a diamond midfield. On Saturday night in Portland, Oregon, that style was gone.

Instead, RSL fans got the first look at the 4-3-3 formation — a more attack-minded style of soccer that relies on forwards succeeding in the final third of the field.

But little of that was seen, and instead the 0-0 tie with the Portland Timbers became a slugfest, marred by errant passing, unnecessary lobs out the back and a silly amount of shoving, pushing and cynical fouls.

The poor play and unfortunate result was also a reflection of the players on the field, who were unskilled and inconsistent throughout the night. Here are the players rankings from Saturday night’s game.


Olmes Garcia — 4

Garcia let his emotions get the best of him. He constantly argued with the referee about a variety of calls. Fans could see the frustration ignite Garcia in a negative way, as he didn’t make many attacking runs and help the final third. Garcia isn’t an MLS starter; he’s really a substitution a team brings on when one of its strikers needs a sub, which was reflected Saturday night.

Alvaro Saborio — 5

Sabo did the best of all the strikers. He took some chances at goal with headers and constantly made himself available. Still, he drifted too far into the midfield at points, and he was often frustrated with his teammates, and that caused friction up top and a lack of production for all the forwards.

Sebastian Jaime — 4

Jaime did not look at all ready for this game. He rarely had the ball at his feet. His performance was poor enough to force him to get subbed off in the second half. There’s still some hope for the forward, assuming he can get accustomed to the league.


Luis Gil — 5

Gil will be an interesting story to watch this season. He’s still yet to solidify himself as a decent midfielder, and he’s still relatively untested in MLS waters since he shared many minutes with Ned Grabavoy and the other RSL midfielders last season. Expect to see Gil more often this season. And given he’s now wearing No. 10, we may see him advance more and try to replace Javier Morales as that playmaking midfielder who adds a surge to the attack.

Kyle Beckerman — 7

Beckerman had a mixed performance. He played some smart balls and cleaned up the midfield at points, but otherwise his passes slid too quickly out of bounds and weren’t as precise as normal. But one can probably blame that on the turf.

Javier Morales — 6

The six years have slowed him down and made him a lot more limited in how he attacks. In fact, on several occasions, Portland locked him down and stalled him from making an attacking run in the final third.


Kenny Mansally — 2

Mansally’s chance to prove himself as a starter began on the wrong foot. He played clumsily out of the back and was brazen in many of his approaches. Mansally isn’t an MLS starter, at least not for a moderately successful club like RSL. If he doesn’t show improvement, it’ll be tough for him to keep that starting role.

Chris Schuler — 6

Schuler and Olave kept things tight in the center defense, but neither were particularly successful. Schuler’s dribbling still hasn’t improved, but he did nail some successful passes into the midfield that gave him a higher ranking. Yellow cards don’t help, either.

Jamison Olave — 5

While it’s nice to see Olave back on RSL for nostalgia sake, his role was limited. And given RSL wasn’t terribly tested, either, it’s hard to say if the aging Olave was a good pick up or not for the Salt Lake City side.

Tony Beltran — 4

Beltran played as Beltran does. He marked well in the defensive third of the field, but he also overcommitted when pushing up the midfield, which left his side of the field exposed to an attack on too many occasions.


Nick Rimando — 8

Rimando was the lone bright spot in an otherwise dreadful game. He had some crucial saves that kept RSL in the game, and he did his best to control things out the back. On the few attempts Portland had, Rimando stood strong on all of them — reminding fans and analysts alike that the RSL goalkeeper is one of the best in MLS.


Devon Sandoval — N/A

Sandoval was only in for a blink of an eye and did nothing in that time span.

Luke Mulholland — 5

Much like he did toward the end of his debut season in MLS, Mulholland drifted away from relevancy and became invisible on the pitch. But at least he got an important shot block — he got a haircut.

Jordan Allen — 4

Allen appears to be a favorite among MLS staffers, but the young buck did very little on the pitch on Saturday.

Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret News National. Send him an email at hscribner@deseretdigital.com or follow him on Twitter @herbscribner.